Many of the “myths” about training do little to encourage people to invest the time and money in developing their staff; we believe that these often spring from bad experiences with poor trainers and hope we can shed some light on the reality behind the myths about the value of training for your business.
1.Anyone can be a trainer: we often hear “George used to work in sales so he started running training”. Many people might be able to run some training but not everyone can be an excellent trainer, and after all if you are paying for it don’t you want the best you can get? Look for trainers who get great recommendations from happy customers, have a proven track record and who demonstrate how they maintain and update their own skills and knowledge.
2.No trainer can possibly understand the unique challenges in my business, they’ve never worked here: Sometimes this is true, particularly in legislative or compliance based training and at other times there is value in an external perspective, a fresh pair of eyes and a new approach, and be aware that many skills are transferrable across most industry sectors. Ensure that your trainer will spend time and effort getting to know all about your business and the unique challenges you face before delivering training.
3.Those who can do, and those you can’t teach: Excellent trainers have real world experience in the areas that they cover in their training, proving that they can both do and teach! Ask potential trainers about their background and their successes, and choose to work with the trainer who you feel will add most value in your business.
4.Training will fix the problem / the trainer has all the answers: If you have unhappy or underperforming staff, or if a department is failing, training may be part of the solution but it certainly isn’t the whole answer. A perfect example of this is time management training – I promise you that it really WON’T result in the perpetually late employee getting in to work on time! People must be willing to develop and the business must be willing to support this and create a culture for change and improvement.
5.bWe’ll spend money on training then the staff will leave to get a better job with their new skills: Not necessarily As employers you need to create a working environment that people want to be part of, that people feel proud of and where they want to stay as they see opportunities for their career progression. At the same time we must recognise that some people will move on in time, but our business will have benefitted from their increased skills following training for the time that they were employed by us.
6. We haven’t got time / it costs too much: The successful business will invest time and money in training that adds maximum value to the business and that leads to increases in efficiencies or decreases in costs, so that a positive Return On Investment can be measured. Talk to your trainer about how they will measure ROI so that you know the investment in time and money is worthwhile and justified. Aim to be thinking “we can’t afford NOT to do this training”!
7.You can’t teach an old dog new tricks: Well we agree – not if the dog doesn’t want to learn you can’t! For training to be successful, both the individual and the company have to want to change and develop, and both need to know that there is value in doing so. Training itself doesn’t change anything; it simply provides opportunities for people to make changes but they have to want to and the business has to support that in order for the changes to happen and be sustained.
8. It’s just an excuse for a jolly – no one really does any work on training: if that’s the case it’s a very expensive day out! If you want to take your team out for a fun day don’t pay a trainer to come along for the ride! People learn best when they are relaxed and having fun, but a good trainer won’t be planning fun for fun’s sake. A great trainer will ensure that there are learning opportunities that meet the agreed development objectives built into every activity that runs during the training day. Make sure you agree objectives for the training with the trainer and with the trainees.
9.It will be dull dull dull death by powerpoint: It shouldn’t be! Good trainers recognise that people learn in different ways and will use a variety of training methods to meet all the learning preferences. Powerpoint is a wonderful presentation tool but that by itself is not training. Ask your trainer how they work with all learning styles and what methods they use, then ensure their answer gives you confidence that they won’t bore your employees with endless slideshows!
10.We do all the work not the trainer: Often accompanied by concerns that “we’ll have to do role play” or “I’ll have to stand up and talk”. Research has shown that most people learn best by doing and experiencing for themselves, so a great trainer will provide plenty of opportunities for people to “try out” new skills in the safe environment of the training room. This allows opportunities to get feedback, make changes and try again with no fear of negative consequences. Good trainers are not in the habit of humiliating people and “role play” as a form of torture is best avoided! Experiential learning and opportunities to practise skills are powerful training methods, and a good trainer will ensure people feel able to try these out and to work outside of their comfort zone with support and encouragement. It may look like the trainees are doing all the work – but the trainer will have worked hard to set up the right opportunities for this, and after all they are the ones that are there to learn!
Our conclusion is really quite simple; training is most successful, and none of these myths stand up to much scrutiny when the trainer and the business collaborate to ensure that any training meets the needs of the business and the employees.
Invest your training budget wisely and aim to work with trainers who are highly skilled and passionate about business success.